How to Get Disabled Veteran Benefits for Spouses

Spouses of veterans injured during service might be eligible for extra disability payments, health care, education, burial, and other benefits.

Veterans of the United States Military who return home from active duty with disabilities are often unable to provide for their families as they would have had they not been injured in service. If you're a disabled veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will provide extra benefits to help you support your family. If you're married, special monetary, educational, and health care benefits are available for your spouse.

Read on to learn how to qualify for the extra VA disability compensation for your spouse, including how much the VA pays for a spouse and the other VA benefits your spouse can receive.

Extra VA Disability Payments for Spouses of Disabled Veterans

A veteran who suffers from a medically diagnosed disability that's connected to active service ("service-connected") is generally eligible for VA disability benefits. If you're a disabled veteran and you're married, you and your spouse might also be entitled to extra benefits through the VA.

The VA determines your level of disability and assigns a disability rating ranging from 10% to 100%. If you receive a disability rating of 30% or more and you're married, you can get additional benefits for your spouse. And the more dependents you have, the more the VA will add to your compensation.

Your spouse doesn't need to apply for this extra compensation, because the VA awards it automatically when your disability application is approved. If you're eligible to get extra benefits for your spouse, the VA won't send a separate disability payment to your spouse. Instead, the VA adds your spouse's benefit amount to your monthly payment.

How Much Does the VA Pay for a Spouse?

Like disability compensation, the VA adjusts the amount of additional benefits for spouses annually. How much extra compensation the VA will pay for your spouse depends on your disability rating.

The table below displays the amount of additional benefits (for 2024) you'll receive from the VA for your spouse based on your disability rating. To see how much you can get, find your disability rating in the left column and check the benefit amount in the center column.

Veteran's Percent Disabled

Additional Benefit for Spouse

Additional Money for Aid & Attendance































For example, if you're married and have a 50% disability rating, the VA will increase your base compensation by $104 per month for your spouse. And if you have a disability rating of 90%, you'll get an additional monthly benefit for your spouse of $187.

What Are "Aid and Attendance" Benefits?

The VA pays additional benefits for some disabled veterans' spouses called "aid and attendance." If you're a disabled veteran with at least a 30% rating, these benefits are available to you if your spouse is:

  • disabled and needs help with daily activities, such as:
    • bathing
    • dressing, and
    • eating
  • a resident in a nursing home, or
  • blind or nearly blind.

Like the additional spousal benefits, the amount of aid and attendance you'll get is proportionate to your disability rating. You can use the table provided above to determine how much you could get in aid and attendance benefits. Find your disability rating in the left column and match it to the amount in the right column.

For example, if you're rated as 30% disabled, and your spouse meets the eligibility requirements for aid and attendance benefits, you'd receive an additional $57 per month. Note that aid and attendance benefits are also available for surviving spouses who qualify.

Do Spouses of 100% Disabled Veterans Get Benefits?

If you're a veteran with a 100% disability rating, your spouse will get the maximum amount of additional benefits. Your extra spousal benefits would be $208.40 per month. And if your spouse meets the qualifications for aid and attendance above, you'll receive an additional $191.14 each month.

So, at 100% disabled, if you're married and your spouse qualifies for "aid and attendance," the VA would pay you $399.54 for your spouse on top of a base rate of $3,877.22 per month (based on 2024 compensation rates).

Education Benefits for Spouses of Disabled Veterans

The spouses of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled can receive qualifying educational and training benefits through the Department of Education Assistance (DEA). For your spouse to be eligible for these benefits, your disability must be:

  • service-connected
  • rated by the VA at 100%, and
  • expected to last the rest of your life (permanent).

When Educational Benefits Must be Used

Your spouse has ten years to use these educational benefits (with some exceptions, below). The deadline is measured in one of two ways:

  • from the date the VA determines your spouse qualifies for the benefit, or
  • from the date of your death (if you die from a service-related condition after leaving military service).

Once your spouse begins using these educational benefits, they last up to 36 months.

If the VA rated you as permanently and totally disabled, with an effective date that's 3 years after your discharge from active duty, your spouse would qualify for benefits for 20 years from that effective date.

Surviving spouses of military members who die on active duty also qualify for educational benefits for 20 years.

How Are Educational Benefits Paid?

The benefits are paid as a monthly amount directly to your spouse. How much educational assistance your spouse can get depends on the following:

  • whether your spouse is a full-time or part-time student, and
  • where your spouse receives the education, such as:
    • an institution (like a college or technical school)
    • an apprenticeship
    • on-the-job training
    • farm co-op training, or
    • correspondence courses.

How Can a Spouse Apply for Educational Benefits?

Your spouse can apply for these DEA benefits online or download VA Form 22-5490, Dependents' Application for VA Education Benefits, and submit it to the regional VA office. The educational facility must certify your spouse's enrollment. If your spouse has yet to choose a program of study, the VA will issue the student a Certificate of Eligibility.

VA Medical Benefits for Spouses of Disabled Veterans

Spouses of disabled veterans might also be eligible for health care coverage through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). Through this program, the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies. There are no premiums for health care coverage through CHAMPVA—the premiums are free.

Which Spouses Are Eligible for Health Care Benefits?

CHAMPVA is available to some disabled veterans' spouses and to surviving spouses of veterans who died while on active duty or from a service-connected disability. If you're a disabled veteran, for your spouse to qualify for this health care coverage, all the following must be true:

  • you have a service-connected disability (one caused by or made worse by your active duty service)
  • you received a 100% disability rating from the VA (totally disabled), and
  • your disability is considered permanent.

What Benefits Are Available Through CHAMPVA?

If you're totally and permanently disabled, your spouse is eligible to receive reimbursement through CHAMPVA for most medically and psychologically necessary expenses, such as:

  • inpatient and outpatient services
  • mental health care
  • prescription medications
  • skilled nursing care, and
  • durable medical equipment.

CHAMPVA benefits are available even if your spouse has other health insurance or Medicare. Your spouse's health insurance will be billed first, with CHAMPVA covering many expenses not covered by the primary health insurance. But CHAMPVA benefits aren't available if your spouse has health care coverage through TRICARE, a Department of Defense health care program.

How Does a Spouse Apply for CHAMPVA Benefits?

To apply for CHAMPVA benefits, your spouse must submit the following forms and ID:

  • Application for CHAMPVA Benefits (VA Form 10-10d)
  • Other Health Insurance Certification (VA Form 10-7959c), and
  • a copy of their Medicare card (if 65 years of age or older and if applicable).

While not required, it might be helpful for applicants to send the following as well:

  • birth certificates or adoption papers for children (if applicable)
  • a copy of the veteran's marriage license
  • the VA rating decision paperwork
  • the veteran's DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, and
  • school certification of full-time enrollment for children ages 18-23 (if applicable).

The application and supporting paperwork must be mailed to the CHAMPVA Eligibility Office at the following address:

VHA Office of Community Care
CHAMPVA Eligibility
PO Box 469028
Denver, CO 80246-9028

Or, fax the application and supporting paperwork to 303-331-7809.

Do CHAMPVA Benefits End?

A disabled veteran's spouse who gets divorced is no longer eligible for CHAMPVA benefits. And a surviving spouse who remarries before age 55 no longer gets CHAMPVA benefits. But eligibility can be re-established for a surviving spouse whose remarriage is later terminated by death, divorce, or annulment. To request reinstatement, the surviving spouse must submit a divorce decree, death certificate, or annulment decree along with the documents above.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Surviving Spouses

When a service member dies in the line of duty, or a disabled veteran dies from a service-related injury or illness, the surviving spouse might be eligible for a tax-free cash benefit called "Dependency and Indemnity Compensation" (DIC).

The DIC benefit rate starts at $1,612.75 per month (for 2024). Added amounts are available for surviving spouses with children and those who are disabled or housebound.

To qualify for DIC benefits, the surviving spouse must have lived with the veteran without a break until the veteran died. (A surviving spouse who was separated can still qualify if not at fault for the separation.) At least one of the following must also be true:

  • the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for at least 1 year
  • the surviving spouse had a child with the veteran, or
  • the surviving spouse and veteran were married within 15 years of the veteran's discharge from service and the qualifying illness or injury started or got worse during the marriage.

If you're a surviving spouse who remarried, you might still qualify for DIC benefits, depending on how old you were when you remarried. You can still receive or continue to receive DIC benefits if you were:

  • at least 57 years old and remarried on or after December 16, 2003, or
  • at least 55 years old and remarried on or after January 5, 2021.

If you were married to a disabled veteran who was eligible for Social Security disability benefits at death, you might also be able to get Social Security survivors benefits.

Spouses of Disabled Veterans Can Get Burial Benefits

The spouses of disabled veterans are also eligible for burial benefits in VA cemeteries. For your spouse to qualify, you must:

  • be a disabled veteran
  • have served either two consecutive years of active duty or the full period of active duty for your particular assignment, and
  • have been discharged in other than dishonorable conditions.

The burial benefits the VA provides for your spouse include the following:

  • a gravesite
  • the grave liner
  • the opening and closing of the grave
  • a headstone or marker (including a medallion or an "in memory of" marker), and
  • the care of the gravesite as a part of the cemetery.

Spouses of veterans who died after January 2000 don't lose these burial benefits when they remarry. Unmarried children of veterans are also eligible for these benefits.

Other Benefits a Disabled Veteran's Spouse Might Get

Many states pay benefits to the spouses of disabled veterans. And some states offer other benefits such as:

  • property tax exemptions
  • free counseling services, and
  • employment assistance.

The specific benefits available vary from state to state. Contact your state's Department of Veterans Affairs for more information.

If you're receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits in addition to your VA disability compensation, your spouse (and/or ex-spouse) might also qualify for dependents benefits through Social Security. Learn more about getting Social Security benefits as a disabled veteran.

Updated December 28, 2023

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